A to Z Survey

So, I adore discovering tags and surveys, especially when I’m clueless about what exactly to write. I stumbled across The A to Z Survey, created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, way back in 2013 and decided to give it a shot!

Author I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hmmm…I need to travel back in time for this one, as I tend to jump from one author to another quite a bit! I’d say I’ve read almost all of Ann. M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club series as well as the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene! ūüėÄ

Best Sequel Ever

I adored Leigh Bardugo’s follow-ups to¬†Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising!¬†The original in the Grisha series was awesome, but the sequels tied the whole story together and were very entertaining!

Currently Reading

Right now, I’m officially in the midst of reading four books! I’m reading¬†A Batter of Life and Death, a precious cozy mystery by Ellie Alexander, for The Candid Cover’s Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge¬†and I’m doing buddy reads of both Oscar Wilde’s¬†The Picture of Dorian Gray¬†and¬†The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie¬†by Alan Bradley.

In addition, I’m taking a short break from reading Stephen King’s behemoth post-apocalyptic novel,¬†The Stand. I never used to read multiple books at once, but I think I like jumping between reads!

Drink of Choice While Reading

My drink of choice is always coffee with only cream! I drink it all day, every day! ūüėÄ

E-Reader or Physical Book?

Honestly, I enjoy both my Kindle and physical books. Generally, I’ll switch back and forth between reading an ebook and a hard copy.

Fictional Character I Probably Would Have Dated in High School

OMG! I adore Rob in Kelly Oram’s retelling,¬†Cinder & Ella! Although Rob is simply an excellent guy friend to the main character, he is too sweet for words and doesn’t pressure Ella into a romantic relationship!

Glad I Gave This Book a Chance

Insanity¬†by Cameron Jace was a big step out of my reading comfort zone! I’m so happy I decided to read it, a retelling of¬†Alice in Wonderland. It’s sort of overwhelming, as there are at least seven total books in the series, but I love the story and plan to read them all!

Hidden Gem Book

For this one, it has to be John Steinbeck’s¬†Of Mice and Men, which I read for English class in high school. I went into reading it not knowing what to expect, but it seriously pulled at my heartstrings and will forever be very special to me.

The reason this book holds such a special place in my heart is because my older brother, Bill, is autistic. One of the main characters, Lennie, is descried by Steinbeck as ‘simple-minded’ and his story really makes me think of Bill.¬†

Plus, with the tragic, yet merciful ending, I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of George, Lennie’s closest friend‘.

Important Moment in My Reading Life

The first thing that comes to mind is when I read Michael Crichton’s¬†Jurassic Park¬†as a fifth grader! I read it after seeing and loving the movie and at the time, it was the fattest book I’d ever read! I’m still really proud of that accomplishment! ūüėÄ

Just Finished

The most recent book I finished reading was¬†Cinder & Ella, quite obviously a Cinderella retelling! It’s a lovely book and I thank Delaney for highly recommending it to me!

Kinds of Books I Won’t Read

The only kind of book I’m really opposed to reading is straight-up erotica! No judgment toward people who enjoy the genre, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Longest Book I’ve Read

At the moment, the longest book I’ve read is Leo Tolstoy’s¬†Anna Karenina, clocking in at 817 pages. When I finally finish it, hopefully by September,¬†The Stand¬†will bump Tolstoy’s classic out of its top spot, as it has 1153 pages!

Major Book Hangover Because of

Anna Karenina! I adored reading it SO VERY MUCH and I didn’t want it to end! I ended up reading a nonfiction book about Catherine the Great,¬†Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie, not long after finishing Tolstoy’s work, as my mind was still in imperial Russia!

Number of Bookcases I Own

I don’t have any serious bookcases, sadly! I do have an antique curio that belonged to my great-grandmother, but I only store my babies’ books and pictures in it for the time being. Now I have my books in stacks in my walk-in closet, but one of these days, I will have my own real library!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times

The only book I’ve reread is J.K. Rowling’s¬†Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! I actually reread it via audiobook and with Jim Dale narrating it was amazing! I’m really glad I chose to listen to the first installment in the Harry Potter series; I had forgotten a lot of the detail included in the story and I look forward to listening to the rest of the series soon.

Preferred Place to Read

I like to read anywhere I can, whether it be on the couch, curled up in my bed, nestled in a nook outside, or even in a waiting room – as long as I can read, I’m pretty happy!

Quote That Inspires Me from All the Books I’ve Read

Since it’s fresh in my mind, there is a quote from¬†Cinder & Ella¬†that I absolutely adore!¬†

“Her laugh was my new favorite sound in the whole world.”

Reading Regret

I always regret DNFing books, but sometimes it’s just necessary. For instance, I was really looking forward to reading¬†Great Expectations¬†by Charles Dickens, but I just could not get through it. I am going to try reading a manga version by Stacy King!

Series I Started and Need to Finish

I really need to finish The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! I’ve read both¬†Cinder¬†and¬†Scarlet, but need to get to¬†Cress,¬†Fairest, Winter,¬†and¬†Stars Above. While I enjoyed¬†Cinder, Scarlet¬†didn’t really grab me. I have a feeling I will really like¬†Cress¬†and¬†Winter¬†though!

I want to throw in the novellas, Fairest and Stars Above just to get the full effect of the series.

Three of My All-Time Favorite Books

Nothing can top Anna Karenina and Of Mice and Men!

Unapologetic Fangirl for

– a good retelling

Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others

I love Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels and his latest installment,¬†Origin, releasing October 3rd, is definitely the one I am most looking forward to getting my hands on!

Worst Bookish Habit

My worst bookish habit is judging books by their covers. I’ve come to learn that an eye-catching jacket does not necessarily mean a quality book is encased within it.

[Your] My Latest Book Purchase

I’ve been on a serious graphic novel kick, so pretty much any book in the genre must be mine! But, most recently, I bought a book in another favorite genre – the cozy mystery! I purchased¬†Crime and Poetry¬†by Amanda Flower.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book

ANY audiobook is likely to put me to sleep! ūüėÄ

Love, Maggie

A Literary Journey

While I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first started reading, I do know it was at an early age. I had collections of Dr. Seuss books, fairy tales, you name it, I probably had it – and still do. I recall reading by the light of the hallway outside my bedroom when I was supposed to be asleep.

One summer, maybe after second grade, we were given sheets of paper on which to record our summer reading progress. When I turned in my paper that fall, I had filled it front and back; I don’t think any of my classmates did this. I can still see the look on my teacher’s face when I handed in my paper.

I was all about reading all through elementary school – I couldn’t go without having a book to read and would immediately choose new books to check out of the school library after taking an accelerated reading test on whatever I’d just finished reading. I remember a particular shelf in the school library that was filled with such books by Judy Blume, Beverley Cleary, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, to name a few. That was my favorite shelf and I probably read every book contained within the bookcase to which the shelf belonged.

I loved challenging myself to read ‘big’ books as a kid. I read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park in fifth grade and adored it. I felt like a big shot reading it during class breaks! I even won the first place trophy for having earned the most accelerated reading points from the time I was able to take tests, maybe in third grade, through eighth grade – it was always a competition between a few of my classmates and I and I would do my best to read fat books offering at least twenty points a pop.

By the time I hit high school, however, I stopped reading independently. While I had the opportunity to read a bunch of awesome books for classes, I had begun getting to the point of being unable to concentrate enough to read at all. I would reread paragraphs and entire pages due to my inability to really absorb myself in stories.

Many years later I figured out my reading habits had drastically changed as a result of being hit by intense anxiety and depression and other things happening in my brain. I was a junior in college and experiencing severe depression. I remember trying to do readings for classes and not being able to retain anything I had just read. Everything was daunting and I missed reading so much.

I feel like I’ve missed out on so many books because of my mental illness. Fortunately, I am now able to concentrate on reading. Being able to actually focus on words now has shown me just how deep my depression ran before I sought help.

I’m proud to say that I’m once again obsessed with reading and have a TBR list at least a mile long! Once again I absolutely must have a book or my Kindle with me anytime I know I’ll be sitting in a waiting room. If I don’t have a book on my Goodreads currently reading shelf, I feel lost!

I’m so grateful that there is aid for those suffering with mental illness and that it is so widely available, even if the quality of care isn’t totally up to par. I’m lucky to have found an excellent psychiatrist whom has helped me return to my old self through a mix of medications and therapy.

I guess this post serves as a pseudo public service announcement: if you adore books but are unable to concentrate on words and retain plot points, you may be depressed, like I was. I was so glad to find out what had caused my years-long reading slump. I’m even more glad to be able to say that chapter is over.

Love, Maggie